We've been working on Archer since the first season, and love that you guys are enjoying the Easter Egg hunt!

Easter Egg home page…

http://algersoft.net

Mark…

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2859443

https://twitter.com/markpaterson/status/585141859107897344

Tim…

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1140509

https://twitter.com/bigmoneytim/status/585141872949080064

Comments: 473 • Responses: 40  • Date: 

redditaccountplease54 karma

I really want some more Krieger. He's been a long-neglected member of the cast. Sure, we see him do some pretty awesome things, but especially this last season he was just kind of a tool to get things accomplished. When are we getting our full-on dick-in-face Krieger action? When will there be an episode about Krieger and his problems? WHEN, CRUEL WORLD, GOD DAMN YOU, WHEN?

mark_paterson74 karma

Krieger, how many fake accounts are you gonna make? Jeez.

bigmattyh46 karma

Two quick questions:

  1. Last year's pool balls?
  2. DEAR GOD HOW DEEP DOES THIS RABBIT HOLE GO AND PLEASE RELEASE ME FROM THIS OBSESSION OH MY GOD

mark_paterson70 karma

  1. Yes
  2. See for yourself http://i.imgur.com/j0YDwFr.jpg

jsharp1423 karma

After this is over is there a way to get a high-res upload of that picture?

mark_paterson28 karma

Yes. I plan to put together some kind of blog or whatever to explain everything in detail. Some people have done a great job on this so far (notably aglidden) but there's errors or omissions.

mark_paterson9 karma

To explain: the black lines are direct links, the red indirect.

PunkaTess4 karma

So it looks like you have to link bare minimum of 22 clues to solve it, correct? That looks like the fastest route.

mark_paterson3 karma

The lines that track back and forward (skipping multiple steps) are not shortcuts. They're just showing how different clues are found earlier but used much later or combined with other clues.

bigmattyh15 karma

(Also, you guys are awesome. This is the best easter-egg/treasure hunt on the web, ever, and I've done a ton of them.)

mark_paterson11 karma

Thanks! Glad you're enjoying it!

Sirlantedise32 karma

Do you want ants?

mark_paterson36 karma

No

PunkaTess22 karma

1) How long did it actually take for you guys to plan out everything?

2) Did you guys do the coding on it, or did you have to hire someone else to do that? Because if you need help in the future, I can give you a referral to an Emmy nominated web producer, who might be a big Archer fan too....

mark_paterson29 karma

It happened in stages. I had the idea at the start of Season 6 production, around July 2014. Episode 2 was the first opportunity I had to insert a clue. That was the Conway Stern profile screen http://i.imgur.com/IztRvVo.jpg . That took you out of the episode for several steps, and it wasn't until episode 7 that I was able to pick it up again. This was simply down to there being no screens in those inbetween episodes, and not a whole bunch of people knowing this was even going on. Only 2-3 people were even in the loop for about 6 months.

Originally, there were about 10 steps in total, but over time more and more were added. By the time people actually found algersoft.net, it because clear there wasn't enough steps remaining to sustain it to the end of the season, so a bunch more were added.

I did the majority of the website coding myself. Tim coded the Cheryl game. Our lead animator Marcus Rosentrater did a lot of the back-end acrobatics on the [email protected] page. All MySQL stuff. Way above my head.

PunkaTess10 karma

Thank you so much for such a detailed answer. Seriously, you guys are just giving me so many ideas now. I have to get on a show that's willing to challenge your guys commitment to it.

I did the majority of the website coding myself. Tim coded the Cheryl game. Our lead animator Marcus Rosentrater did a lot of the back-end acrobatics on the [email protected] page. All MySQL stuff. Way above my head.

Hahaha! Honestly, it's hard to find all off those things in one person. I can write SQL and code websites in my sleep, but have zero animation experience. That's cool that you could do it all in house. So much easier to keep it top secret. Thank you.

mark_paterson10 karma

It was key to the whole operation to keep the team very very very small.

gr33nsl33v3s18 karma

I don't know if you guys specifically had anything to do with this, but I noticed when Lucky Yates was added to the opening credits in season 5, it sounded like someone just spliced an extra bar of the theme song for him. I think this was fixed in season 6. Did you guys get called out on this?

mark_paterson23 karma

I actually created the new version of the intro you speak of, which was a total do over from top to bottom, but made to look exactly like the original (this was in preparation for the Vice re-skin for episode 502-513, it was way easier to re-skin a brand new, tidy version). So obviously, I was aware it was made longer, but it never bothered my ears.

EDIT: Here's a short BTS feature on the intro remake http://uproxx.com/tv/2014/02/creating-new-archer-vice-intro/

wht-abt-schrdngrsdog14 karma

Was BlueHost pissed off about the 1M button click step?

mark_paterson26 karma

Their automated email bot sure was http://i.imgur.com/vcvq2ko.png , but they were super cool when I actually called and talked to a human.

All I had to do was promise to switch off the MySQL database they reinstated the account. Basically their poor server was being fried.

blarf_irl7 karma

(partial) apologies and glad you got it sorted! Thanks for a great hunt.

mark_paterson11 karma

Man that [email protected] stuff was a riot. It was fun giving you guys an inch and watching you take a mile. Well done.

dpress13 karma

How many Cadbury Creme Eggs were sacrificed during the making of this?

mark_paterson14 karma

Enough to account for the Cadbury embargo.

aglidden10 karma

Thanks for the awesome easter egg hunt, it's been a blast! Sorry we killed your server. Do you guys plan on doing another one of these next season or back to the one off easter eggs?

mark_paterson8 karma

Hey. Thanks for you help giving everybody a home base to talk about all this. It's really helped!

Oberschutze8 karma

What's something that the average person watching probably wouldn't pick up on but that you guys as animators put a lot of time into/are really proud of?

mark_paterson15 karma

The easter egg hunt.

PunkaTess8 karma

Thank you guys for the brilliant easter egg hunt. I've been programming for 15 years, and have been in TV for 8 now. I've tried to talk various bosses in to doing anything from augmented reality apps to hidden easter eggs. I've never seen anyone come even close to this before. I plan on using your example next time I'm making a pitch to my boss. I love it!

Since the bot keeps thinking there's no question in my comment:

How much did you have to pay Adam Reed to let you do it? Because I need to factor that into my proposal....

meatmeatmeat12 karma

Cheap as free. They loved the idea from the jump. We had some stuff ready to show so it couldn't hurt to flesh out your pitch.

PunkaTess6 karma

How fleshed out was your pitch? Did you have anything coded already, or just pen and paper ideas?

I've gotten shows to do a lot of things they never thought of, build apps, increasing tons of functionality on websites, etc. I have just never gotten a show to buy in this deep for something. I'm really impressed. I also feel like part of it might be the audience of the show. Obviously non-comedy shows or some sitcoms geared toward older or non-tech audiences are more resistent to try interactive events like this.

mark_paterson4 karma

I'd say about 25% of it was worked out on paper before hand, with a loose idea of what the end would be, and then a list of ideas were drawn up for directions we could take it in between those two points. The actual website didn't come about until it was all fully in motion.

In terms of how deep the producers bought into it, the honest answer is that they just let us run with it and I can't thank them enough for that. We'd check in with them periodically and let them know what we were planning next, but they were very hands off (yet at the same time very interested and intrigued). They're so busy with an actual show to run, I think they were just happy to let us get on with it.

Ultimately, I think they just trusted us not to fuck it up. Tim and I have been on the show since episode 1x02 (both starting on the same day if I recall correctly), so we feel we have a good handle of what works and what doesn't.

Good luck on your plans!

theesado8 karma

Will the Easter Egg Hunt finish before the season 7 opening?

mark_paterson15 karma

It could very well finish today. You have everything you need.

Knights-of-Ni7 karma

Seeing how detail you guys put into animation, how much research do you put into weapons, cars, clothing?

Also, what is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

mark_paterson11 karma

A lot of research goes into every show. People really notice if you're holding it wrong.

mark_paterson10 karma

African or European?

scr0dd6 karma

Did you guys decide to do this big easter egg thing just for fun or did you plan it as a new way to market the show and get people to tune in/re-watch old episodes?

mark_paterson7 karma

It was literally just for fun. I know that may sound hard to believe, but it's the truth. We had no idea it would get such fervent following. That said, it will be interesting to see if other shows pick up on that and follow suit.

mnbutler6 karma

How did you guys get into the industry?

Can I just come by and drop my resume off? I assume Mr. Reed is doing his spirit walk through Spain so I won't bother anyone.

mark_paterson9 karma

Kind of accidentally backed into it. Still wonder how I got here to be honest. Definitely NOT a five year plan kinda thing. I'm originally from Manchester, England. I have a motion graphics background, did a little animation here and there when it was needed. Moved to the US in 2007, did freelance for a while until the economy tanked and suddenly needed a job.

I sent my resume out to Radical Axis on a whim, who just so happened to be hiring for season 1 of Archer (Season 1 was produced out of Radical Axis' studios in Atlanta, then home of Squidbillies, Aqua Teen, etc. Archer was still a Floyd County operation, but largely staffed at that time by Radical-hired folk).

Choppersaurus6 karma

How long did the entire Easter Egg hunt took? 3 months? 6 months?

And what are your inspirations for some of the clues? I still can't wrap my head around the "22+22 You're the Keymaster" clue, whoever thought of that must be a genius or a diabolical supervillain.

mark_paterson7 karma

I'm neither I promise.

22+22 means to take the first 22 and last 22 green squares from the crossword and combine them in a certain way. But how? Well, in very basic terms, when you mash two strings of characters together you can get a third string, an encrypted output of the first 2. 'You are the key master' means that they are in fact making a key, to be used later. This turns everything so far on its head, as up until that point you've had keys given to you.

TheEightDoctor6 karma

Do you feel like Archer would try to bang Judi Dench's M from the James Bond movies because of some Freudian shit?

meatmeatmeat18 karma

I'd be more grossed out cuz she died in the last movie.

bauer4384 karma

SPOILER!

mark_paterson13 karma

Oh, who remembers?

jello19905 karma

Will the Krieger's Iron Man suit make an appearance in the show?

mark_paterson8 karma

That's up to Adam Reed.

2th5 karma

Greetings from myself and the other mods over at /r/ArcherFX. It has been great seeing the hunt take place. 1)How did this hunt come about? What was the inspiration and how long did it take to put together? 2) Can we hope to see another hunt next season?

mark_paterson4 karma

Ultimately, I wanted a way to interact with fans in a new, interesting way, and I think we've achieved that.

A bunch of us hang out on r/ArcherFX and always see requests for wallpapers, ringtones, etc, and most of what they get back are kinda crummy or poorly grabbed from low resolution source material.

Working on the show, we're uniquely placed to be able to give them everything they could ever want. 5K resolution wallpapers for example, and ringtone files taken from the original source recordings. We really wanted to give something back to the fans for being so awesome.

I wasn't really inspired by anything in particular. I played Dropquest for a while a couple of years ago but got bored and gave up. So I guess in a way that taught me to keep the energy up and try to keep things constantly in motion, new uploads, new parts to the website (Pirate Virus, [email protected], etc).

In terms of 'putting it together' it's been forming sporadically since July last year, waiting for opportunities to insert something into an episode. But since around Christmas it's been consuming a lot more of my time, in addition to just working on the show in my regular capacity.

Noskcaj965 karma

Who is the most difficult character for you guys to animate? my money is on Ray

mark_paterson14 karma

Definitely 'Other Barry'

PunkaTess5 karma

Seriously, what the hell is the password to the insurance zip?? Can you give any hint?

mark_paterson3 karma

Technically the AMA is over now (unless we can jump on later for a bit). But if not, consider the following an encore…

It will end as it began.

wht-abt-schrdngrsdog4 karma

Have you guys been actively watching the IRC conversation?

mark_paterson3 karma

have you?

ArnsBalls3 karma

Im curious about Mulatto Cops, it seemed different than the other sound files in a few ways. Was it some kind of clue to something?

mark_paterson3 karma

There's an anecdote to this.

The original 'Mullatto Cops' is used in the episode where the bowling balls roll down the street and hit the car of up-to-no-goodniks, who are playing it in their car.

We really wanted to make it available for download but the music license was only cleared for use on TV, not online.

So to get around that, I got Casey's acapella and stayed up late one night re-recording all the instruments as a sound-a-like version. I think it was done maybe like a day or two before we actually stuck it on algersoft.

jsharp143 karma

Fairly unrelated, but I'm curious. What kind of music do you two like?

mark_paterson11 karma

Indie kid at heart. I feel like I'm the world's biggest Smiths nerd, but being from Manchester, I'm partial to that whole scene. Really into Old School Hip Hop too, especially Beastie Boys (which explains this mashup I made a couple of years back https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5E_VYvYexl4 ). There's also a couple of videos on that youtube channel of me doing my best Johnny Marr impression. Also really digging Dum Dum Girls at the minute – probably favourite band right now. I dunno, I have a pretty broad palette. Not a music snob at all. And… this kinda feels like an OK Cupid bio now. I'll stop.

jsharp145 karma

YOU'RE THE ONE THAT DID THAT VIDEO!?

I am obsessed with good mashups and loved that one (I'm also a big Beastie fan).

mark_paterson6 karma

haha yeah. it was like 3 months of my life. Glad you liked it! Audio took a while to get right but with the help of Logic Pro X's amazing time stretching tools it was still a lot of fun. The video edit was another beast entirely. Basically made 2x versions of the video (each band 'performing' my mashup all the way through by themselves) and outputted them to VHS tape. Then played tape over and over through 3 cheap ass TVs I bought at Goodwill for like $5 each and filmed the screens. Ended up with about 30 video layers to cut between, and mixed the bounced audio track over the top, muting the VHS version.

Clippythe_Paperclip3 karma

What did you do before you worked on Archer?

mark_paterson4 karma

I did freelance motion graphics and animation. Before that I worked at a really interesting company called http://www.centrescreen.co.uk (Manchester UK) where I basically learnt After Effects on the job, right out of college.

shivan213 karma

What software do you use?

meatmeatmeat7 karma

Mostly Adobe stuff. Animation is After Effects and Harmony. Characters drawn in illustrator. BGs painted in Photoshop. The 3D stuff (unpainted BGs and stuff like cars or big explosions) are mostly Cinema 4D. I think boards use Storyboard now. Not sure what edit uses. Probably Premiere now.

mark_paterson18 karma

Here's a few BTS screen shots from various programs we use

After Effects http://i.imgur.com/XNLTJhI.png

Premiere http://i.imgur.com/ZqXsCPD.png

Photoshop http://i.imgur.com/DECq5vT.png

Illustrator http://i.imgur.com/NZ02AXc.jpg

golden_metal_ass3 karma

hello.

aside from archer what other modern animation/cartoons/anime do you guys love to watch?

mark_paterson6 karma

The Mister System

DeeFB2 karma

I have to ask. You made those One Direction cartoons on youtube, right? How in the hell did you come up with those?

mark_paterson8 karma

Haha. No, they're the work of former Lead Animator Mark Parsons, although seeing how he shares a large percentage of my name, I understand the confusion. https://twitter.com/markalanparsons

Warlizard2 karma

Were you at the Maxim party at Comic Con in 2013?

mark_paterson5 karma

no